A judge ruled Wednesday that the woman who claims to be James Brown’s fourth wife can select the special legal guardian she wants appointed for her son, the first step toward determining whether the late soul singer is the child’s father.
It’s the second time Tomi Rae Hynie has won a ruling about Brown’s valuable estate. She had to get legal intervention in February to return to the home she shared with the singer and retrieve some personal items.
In her latest petition, Hynie had asked that Charleston attorney Stephen M. Slotchiver be appointed special legal guardian for her son, but Brown’s trustees had also presented a list of attorneys to serve in that position.
“If they could be so heartless as to lock a widow and a fatherless child out of their home and continue to give us a hard time, why would they all of a sudden take interest in representing my son and try to claim that it was in his best interest,” Hynie said. “If they were looking out for his best interest we wouldn’t even be in this predicament.”
A call to Brown’s longtime adviser and trustee Buddy Dallas was not immediately returned Wednesday.
A DNA test proving Brown was the child’s father could not be done without appointing the guardian, Hynie’s attorney Robert Rosen said.
But the judge did not order a paternity test Wednesday, Rosen said.
“It’s not a foregone conclusion that a DNA test is going to be done,” Rosen said. “The issue of his paternity is not even before the court because he hasn’t made a claim against the estate.”
Hynie, who was a backup singer for Brown, and her son were not included in the singer’s will. Brown died in an Atlanta hospital Dec. 25 and his body was placed in a crypt at the home of one of his daughters last month.
Hynie said she plans to visit Brown’s crypt this week.
“My son wants to say a prayer for Daddy and go and see where he’s sleeping,” Hynie said. “And I really need to go and talk to James myself about a few things.”
She also hoped to return to Brown’s Beech Island home to retrieve some personal items, but said that trustees were “stalling us and trying to make it seem like we were stalling.”